Author: Ally Carter
Series: Embassy Row
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: let-me-down, hot-like-meh, realistic-fiction
Grace can best be described as a daredevil, an Army brat, and a rebel. She is also the only granddaughter of perhaps the most powerful ambassador in the world and Grace has spent every summer of her childhood running across the roofs of Embassy Row. Now, at age sixteen, she's come back to stay - in order to solve the mystery of her mother's death. In the process, she uncovers an international conspiracy of unsettling proportions, and must choose her friends and watch her foes carefully if she and the world are to be saved.
As close to a three as it can get without actually being a three.
#1 Ambassadors are kind of like superheroes/heroines, eh?
#2 I don’t know anything about being/living with an ambassador.
#3 Review Time!
Basically, All Fall Down is entertainment fodder with ambitions to develop into something less satisfying further on in the story. It’s short, fast-paced with fun characters, sneaking and jumping and flipping authorities. Set in Embassy Row. In the fictional city of Adria, Valancia. There’s a scarred killer amongst the tightrope walkers, peace promisers and other Very Important People.
Grace is a troubled narrator, and boy do I hate that word. Anyway, the entire world as she knows it considers her unreliable. Starting out and through the rest of this adventure, her narration pretty much revolves around the fact that she’s not crazy and there’s a killer out there. I got over that rrrrreally fast. Faster than Flash could sweep me off my feet and plant a kiss, I’d bet. How about it Flash??? I dare you. 😀
It’s a solid mystery set around characters with enough flesh, background and presence to carry on the story adequately. My definition of adequate being that I don’t feel like I’m under a blanket, in a dark room for extra assurance. There’s a bevy of beautiful people – another fact about ambassadors and their progeny I didn’t know! They all set out to be models, but got sidetracked. However, despite my flaccid attempts at snark, I did like Noah, Rosie and Megan, our protagonist’s compatriots in dank tunnels and trespasses.
There are only sparks of romance/crushing that crop up EVERY time Grace comes across, or spies on, her brother’s best friend, a very Russian, very annoying, AND VERY UNSUITABLY NAMED Alexei. I mean, the left side of my brain sees: prat, shadow of characterization, no real personality, but the right side: RUSSIAN. HOT. NAMED ALEXEI. It brings on moments of cognitive dissonance, I tell you.
HOW IS A GIRL SUPPOSED TO COPE?
Putting hot Russians out of mind, for a moment, I’d like to make clear that there is only a smidgen of actual romance. Huzzah for us buzzkills and cynics and tired folks!
Carter’s latest project requires you to suspend you belief in all things dangerous and 007 taught about efficiency of grownups like you’d drop your trousers in the loo when Ms Peepee has been banging on your bladder through an entire conference on lima beans.
Not that I’m claiming to know anything about Ms Peepee, conferences on lima beans or lima beans, for that matter. I’m a Goddess, you see, of Something and Other; no need to bother with earthly stuff. (Besides them book, obv. And Nutella.)
BUT WHERE WAS I? Oh, trousers. Ha! Right I don’t have any sort of problems with THAT only when I get some sort of subtle discourse acknowledging the fact that yes, what our characters manage is unbelievable and tough. There wasn’t. These players sneak into a very dangerous, secure, and paranoid man’s with barely so much as an oomph!
Now, it’s making me worry about the Very, Very Important people currently out there in other, real countries.
However, this lack of attention to details also goes for when emotional upheavals are going on, relationships strengthened or crapped upon, perils are faced. It’s all fast and most certainly not furious, making for a “I’m in a dimly lit room and can only identify few sundries” experience.
Very nebulous and devoid of actual investment w/r/t thought and feeling.
But besides all that, the story does get fun sometime later. Very Ninja-style! Jumping from balconies and kicking out mortar. There also be revelations that change the course of the story and what you expect. Whether that be a good thing or bad, I leave up to you.
#4 WRAP UP
The story would be much better if it were:
(a) refined (b) tighter (c) more descriptive (d) used the word conspiracy more (that ALWAYS works)
I’m not sure if I’ll be back for more.
The FANTASTIC Gallagher Girls this is not.
Thank you Hachette Children’s Books!